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Kate Chase Sprague was born in 1840 in Cincinnati Ohio the second daughter to the second wife of a devout but ambitious lawyer Her father Salmon P Chase rose to prominence in the antebellum years and was appointed secretary of the treasury in Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet while aspiring to even greater heights Beautiful intelligent regal and entrancing young Kate Chase stepped into the role of establishing her thrice widowed father in Washington society and as a future presidential candidate Her efforts were successful enough that The Washington Star declared her the most brilliant woman of her day None outshone her None that is but Mary Todd Lincoln Though Mrs Lincoln and her young rival held much in common—political acumen love of country and a resolute determination to help the men they loved achieve greatness—they could never be friends for the success of one could come only at the expense of the other When Kate Chase married William Sprague the wealthy young governor of Rhode Island it was widely regarded as the pinnacle of Washington society weddings President Lincoln was in attendance The First Lady was not Jennifer Chiaverini excels at chronicling the lives of extraordinary yet littleknown women through historical fiction What she did for Elizabeth Keckley in Mrs Lincoln’s Dressmaker and for Elizabeth Van Lew in The Spymistress she does for Kate Chase Sprague in Mrs Lincoln’s Rival

10 thoughts on “Mrs Lincolns Rival

  1. says:

    Find this and other reviews at 've come to the conclusion that I must approach Jennifer Chiaverini's work with a certain degree of caution She isn't a bad writer she actually has a great command of language and prose but I find her brand of storytelling less than satisfying My biggest concern is her tenancy to substitute fact based exposition in place of original content This reliance makes her narratives interesting but relatively dry and noteworthy for their lack of depth and momentum To put it simply one might as well read a nonfictional biography To my mind historical fiction is about combining fact with imagination and I don't think Chiaverini excels in creating an appropriate balance between the two To make matters worse I don't feel Mrs Lincoln's Rival has a realistic central theme Kate and Mary spend very little time in one another's company and short of a few jealous and belittling thoughts and remarks from Kate the tension seems largely one sided and grossly exaggerated The blurb itself actually offers a great example of this sensationalism as it draws attention to Mrs Lincoln's absence from Sprague wedding on November 12 1863 Billed as the social event of the season one might easily think this a deliberate slight but the incident strikes a much somber tone when one examines why the socially awkward first lady might have shunned an unnecessary public celebration Following the tragic passing of her eleven year old son William on February 20 1862 Mary Todd Lincoln entered a state of mourning Victorian etiuette regarding death is far too complicated to explain here but it dictated everything from the clothing one might wear to the functions they might attend Duration was dependent on one's relationship to the deceased but according to The Lincoln Institute Mary Todd continued to exhibit her grief long after the customary period of observance and did not shed her mourning attire until early 1865 I understand the appeal of a social rivalry purported cat fights have been selling magazines and newspapers for generations but the idea isn't uite as provocative when one of the so called combatants is a grieving mother Call me crazy but perspective actually makes the idea shallow disgraceful and I'll say it rather ridiculousI think I've made it pretty clear that I struggled with both the style and content of this book and while I've granted it three stars know my rating is a generous one based on the historic scope of the novel rather than genuine appreciation for the narrative

  2. says:

    This really pains me to write this but this book is just not enjoyable I have read almost all of the authors previous works thoroughly enjoyed them The Spymistress was awesome Yes the book was well written well researched Unfortunately there was no 'Rivalry' to speak of therefore no real drama The protagonist of the book is a young entitled brat who relies on her father's success to advance her social standing So in the end we have a daughter of a Cabinet member versus the First Lady of the USA That is not even a competition for goodness sake And Kate's father was a traitorous duplicitous narcissist who could not even handle his own finances And Kate's husband was a scoundrel The only likable characters in the novel were Pres Lincoln Kate's sister Nettie Skip this and read The Spymistress you will thank me later

  3. says:

    25 rounded up to 3 stars Well I am glad that I gave myself a night to sleep on how I would approach this review Combing through the reviews of other readers I confess that they just might have stated all the the reasons this book didn't work for me The book implies that the rivalry between Kate Chase and Mary Todd Lincoln was certainly the talk of Washington The prologue sets us off for what I truly did feel was going to be a cat fight but I suppose I should have been thinking about it from the perspective of a 19th century political watcher

  4. says:

    Kate Chase known as the Belle of Washington in the civil war era was as beautiful and charming as she was politically savvy Her good humor and social graces earned her the friendship of many but Mrs Lincoln perceived her social success as a threat This rivalry was only one of the challenges she faced while managing her father's political career and her many suitorsI went into this book with high expectations having read several great reviews of the author's earlier books I was immediately disappointed by the sparse prose and stiff dialogue Although I could see someone living in the Civil War era speaking as formally as this book was written combined with the third person perspective it left me feeling disconnected Sometimes it seems as though the author is just trying to include all the details she could find out She often mentions battles or people that she describes minimally and that don't add to the storyThe details she included could also be very interesting The way people lived the progress of the war and the political process at the time all fascinated me One detail of the times actually led to my biggest problem with this book Kate feels guilty over letting a suitor kiss her She acts completely subservient to the men in her life and is happy to devote her life to first her father's and then her husband's career And when she ends up in an abusive relationship she blames herself All of this is in keeping with the times but some indication from the author that this is unacceptable now would be necessary for me to recommend this book especially to younger readersWhile the author mentions in the author note at the end that Kate eventually got a divorce the book leaves her relationship story completely unresolved The political plot is also fairly anticlimactic since we know that neither Kate's father nor her husband ever become president At the end of the book this left me unsure what the focus of the plot was supposed to be Despite these negative comments if you can accept the probably accurate but unfortunate representation of women's rights this was a nice light read which gave an interesting glimpses of life during the Civil War It's not the finest historical fiction I've read but still might be worth picking up if you have an interest in the time period This review first published on Doing Dewey

  5. says:

    DNFcouldn't get past the 100 page mark BoringboringZZZZZZI have way too many other books waiting for me so I'm moving on

  6. says:

    Mrs Lincoln's Rival is a work of fiction that is inspired by historical facts The author did a tremendous job with the details of the Civil War as President Lincoln struggles with the difficult realities of that time At times I felt bogged down with political details and almost abandoned the book but kept reading and I'm so glad I didThe author paints a stunning picture of Kate Chase who is elegant outgoing and filled with charm and I soon became engaged with her willful character Kate was a true and loyal daughter to Salmon P Chase and they both had an ardent desire for him to become the President of the United States Kate was very involved with her father's political career and as his eldest daughter Kate would have become First Lady since he was a widower But their ambitions are thwarted when the Republican Party selects Mr Lincoln as their candidate and Mr Chase is sworn in as Secretary of the Treasury It was rather ironic that Mr Chase ran the Treasury with skill but his own finances not so wellAnd the story unfolds through the Civil War President Lincoln's days in office the rivalry between Mrs Lincoln and Kate Chase and finally the assassination of President LincolnI became most engaged in the storyline during the rather turbulent relationship between Kate and William Sprague the Boy Governor from Rhode Island 30 year old Sprague was a cavalry officer and fueled with charm He was very wealthy worth millions and owned cotton mills in Rhode Island His accomplishments were uite extraordinary but Kate was warned that he was less than he seemed The writing is simple and flowing and easy to read I found the rivalry between Mrs Lincoln and Kate Chase to be secondary to the storyline and is certainly not what grabbed my attention If you have any interest in the Civil War there is a wealth of information and much to be learned from this book My rating is 4 stars

  7. says:

    MRS LINCOLN'S RIVALWritten by Jennifer ChiaveriniNarrated by Christina Moore2014; DuttonPenguin 435 Pages Audio length 17 hours and 23 minutesGenre historical fiction american women politics presidents based on true eventsRating ★★★★Kate Chase Sprague is the eldest daughter of an ambitious lawyer Salmon P Chase who had his eye on the Presidential seat With the death of his second wife Kate becomes Salmon's hostess She was at his side to attend parties and threw parties on his behalf Kate saw herself as the First Lady as her father rose in politics Unfortunately for Kate and Salmon Abraham Lincoln would become President and thus putting Kate and Mary Todd Lincoln at oddsWhile Kate liked Mr Lincoln she felt snubbed by his dull wife Mary on the other hand thought Kate was snubbing her because Kate felt she was the rightful First Lady The two would try to outdo the other through proper social circlesKate then focuses on her own life and falls for an ambitious Rhode Island politician William Sprague The two political minds seem perfect for one another or do they?I enjoyed this novel but it is a bit overly descriptive in the day to day activities I appreciated most of the acts as I did not know too much about Lincoln's presidency or the key players At the time I found the main character Kate Chase to be arrogant but she did not turn me off reading the book Other than Lincoln and Kate's younger sister most of the characters seemed unlikeable very flawed but realistic characters I really enjoyed listening to this novel in audiobook formatI received an eARC from NETGALLEYMy Novelesue Life

  8. says:

    I discovered why I didn't care for this one very much even though I love the writing I just didn't find the characters very likable and if I don't like a character it's hard to like the book I love the author and didn't have the heart to rate lower though I skimmed the middle to end

  9. says:

    I knew little about Lincoln’s cabinet members before reading this book It focuses on the life of Salmon P Chase and his daughter Kate during the time of the Civil War She was by her widowed father’s side as advisor and hostess of social events while Chase was Secretary of the Treasury It was no secret that her father aspired some day to be president and Kate was than willing to help his star rise As a result there were often tensions between Lincoln and Chaseas well as with other cabinet members The most heated rivalry was between Mary Todd Lincoln and Kate because “the success of one could only come at the expense of the other”Excellent book about prominent figures of the Civil War and about life in Washington City in that tumultuous time I would recommend it to all history buffsMemorable uotesPg 68 “ It never ceases to amaze me” Kate told her father “how any reasonable person could believe that is wrong to destroy the liberties of slave holding states and yet perfectly acceptable to destroy the liberties of human beings”

  10. says:

    The title of this book did not match the reading inside The first half was not my favorite but the second half redeemed it An interesting book sharing history that had long been forgotten